When I put the year in review, it is fair to say that anyone that had any contact with me from about late February to mid May had some idea that I had applied to a teaching job in Japan. Whether that contact was first hand, or you heard it from somebody else or were just bombarded with facebook status while going about your day - the point is that I was vocal about it.
So, of those that actually cared, it may have been strange come the end of May and beginning of June, when all of the sudden it was no longer a topic of discussion - and the results of my months of interviewing never came to light. At this point it is pretty easy to put one and one together. It equals two. I didn't get the job.
It is an interesting thing to experience when the culmination of months of focus on an objective brings no resolve. I spent three months focused on one goal, only to have it turn out to be for not. I'm not bitter, but it really was an interesting experience. It felt like the floor had been taken out from under me, and I was just floating. Directionless.
I wonder what it feels like to accomplish a life long goal? I'm sure there is happiness in success - but to some small extent there must be a hole where before there was purpose.
There are several ways that you can react to this, I found out, and I think I went through them all in turn. The first, and most obvious, is to sulk. Here I was, rejected, and now had to go back and tell all the people I had it hyped to, that I had failed. That isn't easy, nor is it fun. Sulking isn't something I'm good at though, and as a consequence that phase didn't last too long. By nature I can be a bit of a brooder, pessimistic at times, and at other times openly cynical and sarcastic - but generally content to exist.
The second reaction was to try and patch the hole that had formed. When you spend every day waking up, antcipating what it will be like when you finally accomplish your objective - there forms this almost purpose driven quality to your life. Everything else you do day to day (good or bad) becomes almost irrelevant, as you are so future oriented. Then, all of the sudden the day to day was all I had again. There was no big thing on the horizon, the here and now took precident. Therefore, much like when I returned from South America, I began to cast around for something to focus my energies on - leading to the third reaction to rejection: what can I do differently?
I was forced to ask myself the question "Why the hell didn't I get it, and what can I do to make sure I don't fail again?" This, I guess is where I'm just starting to get into. Although I'm still waiting to hear back about volunteering in Africa, and have set all these goals for myself down the road - there is a part of me that wants to assess what went wrong, not simply move 0n to something else. And to be really honest, I think there were better qualified applicants. That is what went wrong.
That said, I did get VERY close to landing the position. As an idea of how close I got, they were so on the fence about me that it took them an extra two weeks to reply after my interview. Of all their recruiting stations in North America, I was one of about an average of two a year that ever gets called back for a second interview. Second interviews are not really a good thing, but it did mean they weren't ready to give up on me. So I was close, but still failed. How can I tip the scale for next time?
Short answer: self improvement.
In one of the most competitive ESL countries to teach in, I was a hair short of good enough. Therefore I think now is the time to take it upon myself to improve. They weren't wrong, I'm not a teacher. I'm a biology grad, and have very limited teaching experience. But, there is always hope!
As of this fall I believe I will enroll myself in a TESL course. It is happening in Waterloo come September, and takes place on weekends. These courses go over the basics of not only how to make English easier to teach as a second language and classroom dynamics when working with kids, but also application processes, interviewing techniques, cultural insights as well as supplying resources. Fantastic.
Pros: Teaching experience, looks good on a resume, one of the first things looked for during most ESL applications, close to home, accesible times, offer job finding support.
As I see it, regardless of the price tag the course is worth it. Three Saturday and Sundays in a row for about 10 hours a day and the course is complete.
I don't expect the completion of this course to override any of my other existing goals though. I view it as a tac on to my personal aresenal that will let me have the experiences I seem to be craving these days. I still want to do everything on my short list, but this sounds like an excellent tool in helping me accomplish that goal - and maybe even direct me to doing something I might enjoy as more than a passing thing.
On a funny note, if the course doesn't get you a job within six months of taking it they offer a full refund! Oh, but wait, there are strings attached. To recieve a full refund you are required to supply twenty rejection letters from schools around the world, and excessive detail on each one(what colour is the principals tie?). Along with handing in the letters, you then have to return all your texbooks, course materials and... course completion certificate? Yep, they make you give back your course certificate! Essentially making it seem like you never took the course at all! Although, I will say that if you go 0/20, maybe you're barking down the wrong career path.
Then, after all that, you can have your full refund (minus a $95 administration fee!).
It is nice to feel like I'm taking steps in the right direction, even if I'm not completely sure I am.